What is love? What defines happiness? When can love equate to happiness? Is it when we allow ourselves to be happy, or is is when we unselfishly allow others to be happy for the sake of our own happiness? When can a choice be considered as right or wrong? Is it judged by what we feel is right, or by the people around us?
To be honest, the main reason why I picked up this book is because of its movie coming out. It’s on my list of books that I was not in a hurry to read but because of the movie coming out soon I decided to bump up this book on my TBR and yes, I’m quite happy I did.
The book follows the story of 26-year old Louisa Clark, or Lou, who was left with no job after the cafe where she worked for six years suddenly closed. Being the bread winner of the family, which means she badly needs to have a new job to support her family, though hesitant, she agreed to take a temporary 6-month but high paying job as a carer to a 35-year old wealthy man named Will Traynor who was left paralyzed after an accident, an accident that caused him his freedom to do the things that he enjoy. Being a former corporate man, he was used to going to different places, challenging himself by trying different things and dating women. The accident caused him to have a negative outlook in life causing him to become sarcastic, rude and moody most of the time. He believes that his life is already over. He no longer wants to try anything and longs for death.
Lou’s arrival at the Traynor’s grand mansion caused quite a stir. Intimidation filled Lou and Will’s pride became a wall that separated them both. Will resented Lou’s presence during the first few days but that eventually changed after the two eventually learned to get around each other.
Learning the plan that Will wanted to do to end his miseries sent Lou out of his comfort zone and started to work with Lou’s family to change his mind. He planned their daily routines and trips that were a mixture of hits and misses. Her plans were guided by their ultimate goal to make Will realize that there is more to life after what happened to him. As they grew closer, Lou’s plan extended to Will staying alive to Will staying alive because she love him. But will Lou’s love be enough for Will to stay? Will Will give up the only thing that he can control, his choice?
During the course of six months, Will taught Lou to give time to herself and to not be afraid to demand respect from people around her. Responsibilities will always be there but she should not forget to enjoy her life. She should not be afraid to take some risks and go out of her comfort zone. She should learn how to take an aim, be confident and be determined to pursue her dreams without others telling her what she needs to do or might think. Her family who, since they were young, is more focused on her younger sister Treena. Her boyfriend, Patrick, who is more concern of his preparations for his upcoming triathlon than their relationship. The arrival of each other in their lives became a key for them to have a purpose. For Lou, to do the things that she was afraid to do and for Will, to try living. Their meeting became a moment for each other to discover their selves and take chances. Will opened Lou’s eyes to possibilities, possibilities that she did not allow herself to experience because she’s so concern that she might not succeed, and Lou opened Will’s eyes to hope, hope that became a farfetched idea.
The author’s writing is flawless. It’s pretty straightforward and there are no medical jargon like what I was expecting for a book that talks about a disability that is not a known one. The characters were portrayed very naturally and in a realistic way. The first half of the book is full of humor that set the tome. I connected to the characters immediately and loved them instantly. This book will play with your emotions. It moves from being a light-hearted and humorous story to a heart-wrenching drama. It’s well balanced out. I also like how the authors developed her characters. Moyes exposed her characters to her readers making them become very vulnerable. I was able to see more of the characters more because of that. I was able to understand their fears and their personality because of how the sequence of events was presented.
I was able to feel the frustration of Lou and Will in their lives because of how good the writing was. Lou’s inability to serve her purpose in her family and her work and Will’s inability to do the previous things that he can do. One of the things that I also enjoyed in the book is the strong family dynamics. Lou’s family is the complete opposite of Will’s family. Lou’s family is full of warmth and love despite their struggles while Will’s is cold and fragmented. With the structure of each family, it’s not hard not to connect to any of their family members.
The books is overflowing with themes and life lessons from fighting for your family, loving your siblings to fighting for the love of your life. This is not solely a love story but an examination of the choices that we make in our lives and it’s impact to other people. It’s about finding love when we least expect it.
My one and only problem with the book is it’s pacing. It became very dragging at some point. There are some parts that I believe could have been better deleted. I sometimes felt like some parts were just added to make the book longer which is not a good thing. I could’ve appreciated it more if the book was more direct and avoided subplots that could’ve made the book a little less dragging. I understand that maybe, it’s the author’s way of developing her character’s’ love story that what the author did was became too much for me.
Overall, I like how the book made me think. Yes, the book raises some moral questions that is up for discussion but for me, at the end of the day, it is all about respecting each other’s choices and understanding each other’s own happiness.
4 star out of 5.
The movie will be shown here in the Philippines on June 15.
Here’s a blog feature for the quotes that I enjoyed from the book: Book Blog Feature #5: Book Quotes from Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Author: Jojo Moyes
Part of a Series: Yes, Me Before You #1
Release Year: July 2013 (First Published January 2012)
Publisher: Penguin Books
No. of Pages: 369 pages
About the Author
Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.
Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.
She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.